Effective networking is a lot like matchmaking. As you are out and about meeting people, always be thinking about who they should know. By taking a sincere interest in people and learning what kind of work they do, you will be able to refer people and resources to them. You can always tell when you’re dealing with a good networker when they say, “You know, I need to introduce you to so and so.” That differentiates them from a lot of people right there but the great networkers take it one more step. They actually facilitate the introduction.
Anyone can say that I need to introduce you to so and so, but the pros actually do it. This may sound shocking, but so does the fact that people do things that they know are bad for them. We all do this in different areas of our lives. We’re all hypocrites in some way. If you’re not, let’s get your name to the Vatican for instant sainthood. The bottom line is that “To know and not to do, is really not to know.”
When I facilitate a connection by email I use a basic template. I modify it to suit the particular situation, but I’ve found over time that the basic format works really well for most occasions. Here’s what I often use:
“Linda and Fred,
You're both friends of mine who I think should meet each other.
Recently, I spoke with you, Linda, about __________.
Fred is a good friend of mine and is also a tremendous ______________ professional. He doesn't have any tape on his glasses, has no pocket protector and can spell P&L. He's got both sides of his brain working very well. (Let's talk about him like he's not reading this)
I think you'll see a lot of value in having a conversation with him about __________. Fred doesn't put round pegs in square holes and truly takes a sincere interest in helping people. If he can't help you, he'll steer you to someone who can.
Linda Smith's contact info (name, title, company, email, phone, website)
Fred Jones' contact info (name, title, company, email, phone, website)
This is about both of you so I'll step back from the conversation at this point unless you have something that you'd like to discuss with me.
Eager to serve you, Kev”
Facilitate introductions and expect nothing in return. Do it because it’s the right thing to do and because what we give comes back to us. If you’re making introductions because you think that people will now owe you, it will backfire in your face. That’s a transaction, not a relationship. The irony is that when we pay it forward and spread the love with no expectation of reward, it often shows up. And it often shows up in unexpected places. What goes around comes around. Develop the reputation as someone who is a great networker and business matchmaker and people will beat a path to your door. It’s always about relationships.